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Canada’s best restaurants: Toronto dominates, Montreal earns top spot

Grilled octopus at Bar Isabel in Toronto's Little Italy district. The restaurant is ranked eight out of 100, according to a new magazine.
Grilled octopus at Bar Isabel in Toronto's Little Italy district. The restaurant rounds out the top 10. Canada's 100 Best Restaurants

TORONTO — Montreal eatery Toqué! has taken the top spot in the second annual Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants ranking.

The list (crafted by chefs, restauranteurs, foodies and food writers) is a “measure of quality, coast-to-coast, over a year in dining time,” said the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Jacob Richler.

When it comes to which Canadian city is home to the greatest number of “best” restaurants, Toronto once again leads the pack with 32 eateries on the list — four more than last year. It also dominates the top 10 list, with six spots: Buca, Dandylion, Alo, Edulis, Bar Raval and Bar Isabel.

READ MORE: Toronto ranked best place to live in the world by The Economist

The Montreal region follows with 24 restaurants. Joe Beef and Le Vin Papillon are the other two Montreal favourites.

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Vancouver lands 16 on the list. Hawksworth Restaurant was its only offering to place in the top five.

Calgary wins the Battle of Alberta again when it comes to food: eight of its restaurants made the cut including Pigeonhole, Model Milk and Charbar. It’s three fewer than last year but still five more than Edmonton’s three (Bar Bricco, Corso 32 and Rostizado).

Saskatoon’s Ayden is Saskatchewan’s sole representative on the list, as is Winnipeg’s Deer & Almond for Manitoba and Saint John’s Port City Royal for New Brunswick. Halifax earned two dining picks: Edna and Field Guide.

You can see the full list below.

canadas-top-restaurants-2016

The biggest food trend Richler has noticed for 2016 is the rise of the vegetable.

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“Not of preachy, good-for-you vegetarian cuisine – but of imaginative new vegetable cooking from smart chefs who know that vegetables are as well equipped for the spotlight and centre stage as is any piece of meat or fish,” he said.

READ MORE: 2016’s biggest food trends

“You see it across the country – from Pigeon Hole in Calgary, to Vin Papillon and Hotel Herman in Montreal, and at Dandylion – and the new menu at Nota Bene – in Toronto.”

“It’s good for the waistline, good for the planet – and most important, it agrees with my palate, too.”

Of course, it will cost you a pretty penny to feast on some of these fares, like pan-friend foi gras for starters followed by duck magret and heart at Toqué! — which describes itself as “a leader in Quebec’s gastronomy.”

But with such a smorgasbord of selection on the list, there’s bound to be something with a palatable price-point for whatever your budget.

Learn how to make a new dish (like sushi) together.
Learn how to make a new dish (like sushi) together. Canada's 100 Best Restaurants
Hong Kong Lobster at Toqué!.
Hong Kong Lobster at Toqué!. Canada's 100 Best Restaurants
No. 21: Cabane à Sucre at St-Benoît de Mirabel. It comes to you from the man who is also behind No. 34 on the list, Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal.
No. 21: Cabane à Sucre at St-Benoît de Mirabel. It comes to you from the man who is also behind No. 34 on the list, Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal. Canada's 100 Best Restaurants
Pigeonhole placed 16th on Canada's 100 Best magazine's 2016 restaurant ranking.
Pigeonhole placed 16th on Canada's 100 Best magazine's 2016 restaurant ranking. canadas100best.com
No. 54:  Lovely ocean view at Fogo Island Inn in Joe Batt's Arm, Newfoundland.
No. 54: Lovely ocean view at Fogo Island Inn in Joe Batt's Arm, Newfoundland. Canada's 100 Best Restaurants
No. 29: Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario.
No. 29: Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario. Canada's 100 Best Restaurants
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'You Gotta Eat Here!' crews film at Edmonton's Rostizado Wednesday, July 8, 2015. The restaurant is 84th on the list.
'You Gotta Eat Here!' crews film at Edmonton's Rostizado Wednesday, July 8, 2015. The restaurant is 84th on the list. Global News

Frugal foodies also have the opportunity to create some of the restaurants’ signature dishes themselves.

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There’s a recipe online for chilled corn soup, and Hamachi ceviche, among many others.

Hamachi Ceviche from Nota Bene in Toronto.
Hamachi Ceviche from Nota Bene in Toronto.

SOUND OFF: Do you have a favourite restaurant that didn’t make the cut? Share your top picks in our comments section below!

Editor’s note: This story was originally published March 10, 2015 but was updated in March 2016 with the latest rankings.